2020 and Beyond
What does the next decade have in store for the attractions industry?
We again go around the world to find out.
2020: It’s a year infused with optimism, full of courage, and rooted in advancement. The repetitive two and zero in the date present an opportunity to hit reset, look forward, and invest confidently in the future. While change is an ever-present constant variable in life, the global attractions industry continues to represent a bright outlook in the unknown—there is always safe, clean fun to be enjoyed by all.
In 2015, Funworld gathered a collection of voices from leaders across the global attractions industry. Our “2020 Vision” story five years ago presented the hopes and dreams of leaders across the global attractions industry as they peered into the future. In this issue, we follow several of their predictions and track their updated forecasts for the future—while including fresh voices from around the world. This tapestry of enlightenment comes from people of all backgrounds in different stages of their careers—all working for a better tomorrow.
After all, as Walt Disney wisely said, “Somehow I can’t believe there are many heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true.”
AMUSEMENT AND THEME PARKS
Making (Immersive) Memorable Moments
Heather Hill | Director of Operations | Canada’s Wonderland | Vaughan, Ontario, Canada
In the next 10 years, I think that guests will be looking for new immersive experiences that they cannot find elsewhere. This gives us the chance to create memorable moments for their friends and family. We can take guests out of their day-to-day reality, allow them to reconnect, and become the destination for experiential attractions. Our guests will continue to look for the most “Instagram-worthy” photo ops to share. Creating magical backdrops and experiences to inspire those photo moments is already becoming increasingly important in keeping our guests engaged.
Fast Rides, Quality Entertainment, and Memorable Dining
Bianca Sammut | General Manager | Ferrari World Abu Dhabi | Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Guests expect unique, immersive, and quality experiences when they visit the park. As a result, over the next decade, we’ll need to stand committed to enhancing the in-park experience, ensuring guests leave with memories that last a lifetime.
Trends include using state-of-the-art technology in the design of rides and attractions. We’ve seen this while offering “Formula Rossa,” the world’s fastest roller coaster, the triple record-breaking “Flying Aces,” and the gravity-defying “Turbo Track.” Additionally, equally important trends will focus on providing high-quality, award-winning entertainment through stage shows and performances, as well as presenting a variety of dining and shopping experiences offered at attractions.
Technology and Team are Key
Bikash Randhawa | Chief Operating Officer | Village Roadshow Theme Parks | Queensland, Australia
Immersive theming, great rides, and vibrant shows will always be the foundation of great theme parks. However I see the biggest change coming in the way our customers consume technology. We are seeing incredible advancements in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Yet, I still believe our team members will be the key to an enjoyable experience, helping our guests create beautiful memories.
Fons Jurgens | CEO | Efteling Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands
2015 Vision: Remember your roots.
2020 and Beyond: Expectations will rise.
For 67 years, Efteling has stood as an international destination, entertaining more than 5 million guests a year. Our goal has remained the same: We let our guests escape from the daily grind of life. We will build on this in the coming years with a focus on quality and providing an exceptional guest experience.
Social Media and Personalized Experiences
Mario and Cynthia Mamon, with Anna Mamon-Aban Enchanted Kingdom | Laguna, Philippines
2015 Vision: Include your local culture.
2020 and Beyond: Increased travel will result in a greater appetite for attractions.
With technological advancements, data analytics, and guests becoming more open to sharing their experiences on social media, the attractions industry is becoming more equipped to deliver personalized, magical experiences. It’s all about immersion, not just watching.
Safety Will Remain Our No. 1 Priority
David Bromilow | Director of Parks and Attractions | Mobaro London, United Kingdom
Safety in our industry never sleeps. We continuously evolve our safety procedures, systems, and methods of ensuring safety for our guests and employees. I have certainly noticed over the past few years a step change in the sharing and education of safety across the entire industry—from family entertainment centers (FECs) to large theme parks. The industry has opened its doors to each other, and the key to enter is safety.
Open platforms for discussions have given us the means to deliver safety educational programs across the globe seamlessly, consistently, and at a very high level. Much of this can be accredited to the harmonization of safety standards for rides and attractions, driven by the industry safety community. Let’s keep talking in the decade ahead.
The Next Generation of Roller Coasters
Esther van der Meulen | Design Engineer | Vekoma | Vlodrop, Netherlands
As a kid, I was afraid of the heights and inversions found on roller coasters. Luckily, there are many roller coasters without these elements—allowing me to ride (and enjoy what we’ve designed). We’re seeing a trend where our customers are looking to create an experience. Theming is therefore a very important aspect in the design of attractions. Vekoma has quite a number of new designs planned for the coming years, with launches, underground tunnels, fast sections, and integrated slower sections designed to behold show scenes. We are currently developing some really unique and exciting new projects, and while these future plans are unique and exciting, we can’t disclose the details yet! I truly believe, that in the next 10 years, manufacturers will bring some amazing new rides to the world. As for heights … they still scare me!
Launching into the Future
Camiel Bilsen | Ride Designer | Intamin Amusement Rides | Schaan, Liechtenstein
2015 Vision: We’ll see large growth in launch coasters.
2020 and Beyond: Launch coasters will become more creative.
LSM (linear synchronous motors) launch technology has proven to be popular and is going strong at Intamin. While it appears this won’t change anytime soon, what has evidently changed is the way we configure and utilize the launches. A trend is emerging in which manufacturers are looking for new and exciting ways to launch a train, while simultaneously aiming to improve energy efficiency. We’ve already seen launches on airtime hills, double-downs, and in a valley, but we’re confident it won’t stop there. Ride layouts will become increasingly sophisticated, as the means of coaster design will vastly improve over the next decade. The previously unspoken rules as to what defines, for instance, a mega coaster (many hills, no inversions) have been broken—mainly because trains are much more versatile, which introduces the freedom of creating layouts that combine the strengths and elements of multiple coaster types.
Designing on the Edge
Asa Kalama | Executive Creative Director | Walt Disney Imagineering | Glendale, California, United States
Walt and the original Imagineers built Disneyland to be a place where guests could step into the worlds of their favorite stories. Using the most advanced technologies and storytelling techniques of the day, they likened the experience of moving through the park to that of a camera pushing through a film set. That tradition of leveraging cutting-edge tools in the service of creating magic will continue into the next decade and beyond. Interactivity will allow us to further enhance the guest experience by not only presenting stories in fantastical ways, but by also letting guests truly become a part of them.
Designing Personal Entertainment
Vasily Ryzhonkov | Founder and CEO | ARena Space | Moscow, Russia
One of virtual reality’s (VR) main powers is the ability to tell stories in an incredibly immersive way. We can already see the rise of the experience economy, in which people are prepared to pay more for how you make them feel, rather than for a product itself. As a result, attraction venues will replace traditional shopping malls, and “retail-tainment” will thrive.
More Immersion Ahead
Ryan Stana | CEO | RWS Entertainment Group | New York, New York, United States
2015 Vision: Midways groom Broadway talent.
2020 and Beyond: Shows become more interactive.
Looking back on what I wrote five years ago, I am thrilled to see it’s all coming true. The attractions industry is becoming known as a breeding ground for top talent—whether it be upcoming directors, choreographers, writers, musicians, or performers.
In the decade ahead, social media and audience interactivity will grow tremendously. The appetite for immersive experiences is now outpacing traditional entertainment—audiences want to feel a part of something. In fact, RWS’ “Hershey’s Unwrapped” attraction, where live actors lead guests through tasting opportunities, as well as our interactive Madame Tussauds Broadway experience, where guests are placed into famous shows, are evidence of this. We’re integrating these concepts into large-scale theatrical shows as audiences crave the experience—not only to be entertained, but to be transported into something new.
Entertaining Through Inclusion
Melody Leung | 2019-2020 Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Ambassador | Hong Kong Disneyland Resort | Hong Kong, China
Amongst all the expansion plans happening in Disney Resorts around the world, over the next several years here at Hong Kong Disneyland, we’ll bring amazing guest experiences based on some of the most popular Disney franchises, such as “Frozen” and Marvel. To start in 2020, our Castle of Magical Dreams will finish its transformation, paying tribute to all Disney princesses and heroines, celebrating a sense of diversity, inclusion, and unity.
Video Aids the Attractions Star
David Willrich | Managing Director | D J Willrich Ltd. | Beaulieu, Hampshire, United Kingdom
2015 Vision: High-quality video enhances entertainment at attractions.
2020 and Beyond: Video resolution will be pressured to evolve.
The ever-increasing gain in video quality, projection, and LED screens will continue to be a game changer. In the next 10 years, 2K will give way to 4K resolution; inevitably 8K and above will follow, particularly for large screen-based attractions, like flying theaters. Frame rates of 120 fps (frames per second) will become the norm, replacing 60 fps, giving smoother movement across a screen.
Entertaining with a Human Touch
Khadija Khalifa | Commercial Director | Global Village | Dubai, United Arab Emirates
For me, entertaining guests is all about authenticity. While artificial intelligence (AI) bots can take over the guest relationship role, customers are already showing frustration at the “robotization” of their relationship with brands. In the next decade, the human touch will make a comeback for destinations that truly value guest experience, relationships, and how we entertain.
FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT CENTERS
FECs’ New Mix of Fun
Shifa Yusuffali | CEO | IdeaCrate Edutainment Company | Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
It is evident that children and parents are evolving; therefore, family entertainment centers (FECs) are also going through a phase of evolution.
I see two trends redefining FECs in the next decade: First, adding value through creating environments that enhance young children’s development. Second, bringing in active play zones into the traditional FEC mix.
Ideacrate Edutainment Company was established in 2016 with the aim of creating such enriching and innovative centers, which not only focus on entertainment, but also add value to the communities that we are part of.
Attractions Closer to Home
Michael Collins | Senior Partner | Leisure Development Partners | London, United Kingdom
2015 Vision: Developers will use attractions as anchor stores.
2020 and Beyond: Former big-box stores will become attractions.
Five years ago, I predicted that attractions and retail would move ever closer, with leisure and entertainment being sought by malls and retailers to plug the gap in their rent rolls. Today, we are seeing examples of this exciting fusion in every city and mall. Moreover, the attractions world continues to develop new concepts specifically to address this vast opportunity—with both retail and leisure reaping the benefits.
Much of what I predicted will continue to unfold in the years ahead. Look for retail malls to continue to rely on high repeat visitation. Therefore, the entertainment content should be worth multiple visits, while food and beverage content cannot be an afterthought during the next decade.
Riches of Niches
Victoria Lozano | Senior Vice President | Crayola Experience | Easton, Pennsylvania, United States
In the new decade, we’ll see an abundance of experiences targeted to specific consumer groups and interests. Whether it’s permanent or pop-up, there is a growing desire and ability to cater to niche interests and demographics.
A Decade of Game Changers
Ann Kristin Angelsen | Owner and CEO | Barnas Lekeland AS | Ålesund, Norway
Sustainability will be the decade’s game changer for family entertainment centers (FECs) and attractions. As the buzzword becomes the new way of life, sustainability will affect our processes and systems. The movement to be more environmentally conscious is already in demand from FEC guests and will increase even more in the next decade.
We will also witness the digital transformation continue, while offering new technologies to drive fun. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) will introduce new ways to entertain and meet expectations. However, one thing that will never go out of season: delivering value to our guests and exceeding their wildest expectations!
Consumers Will Demand More
Victor Danau | Director, Asia Pacific Operations and Development | Ripley Entertainment | Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Over the next decade, the increase in middle-class families in Asia with growing disposable income will benefit family entertainment centers (FECs) and attractions, but many of these families will lack the time to be able to enjoy the fun together. As families seeking entertainment become more discerning, operators will need to step up operations, safety, and storytelling, amid increasing competition.
Meanwhile, I predict there will be opportunities for consolidation across the Asia-Pacific region in the next 10 years. Strong operators will thrive as they innovate and adapt. Simultaneously, operators who don’t invest in quality, training, and safety will feel the ramifications of consumer choice, as families demand higher standards.
MUSEUMS AND SCIENCE CENTERS
Learning Beyond Walls
Lim Tit Meng | CEO | Science Centre Singapore | Singapore
Science centers and museums worldwide are already champions of creating exhibitions and programs promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with the power to create solutions. Within the next 10 years, I predict a visit to a science center will be EPIC: experiential, participatory, image-driven, and connected to social media.
The industry will see increased community ownership, as science centers and museums transform into lifelong learning destinations that will combine education, entertainment, and the feeling of empowerment.
The Digital Revolution Becomes Personal
Anne Rashford | Director, Special Exhibitions and Business Partnerships | Museum of Science and Industry | Chicago, Illinois, United States
By utilizing advanced technology in innovative ways, our exhibit environments will be more interactive, dynamic, and playful within the new decade. What will be fundamentally different in the coming years: the level of personalized experiences within these public spaces. Designers are reshaping the world using embedded technology that can respond to us on an individual level—assessing and reacting to our presence, our moods, and our movements.
We have grown accustomed to walking up to a door, and it opens automatically; entering a room, and the lights come on; and having our refrigerators tell us what to order. Using a plethora of advanced sensor technology, augmented reality (AR), transforming materials, and innovative design, museums will create responsive spaces that awe and inspire guests.
Programing for Multilingual Communities
Melissa Felder | Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer | California Academy of Sciences | San Francisco, California, United States
It will be particularly exciting to see the continued growth of multilingual interpretive signage and programming at museums, showing that cultural institutions are taking meaningful action to connect the diverse audiences we serve with rich, engaging experiences. At the California Academy of Sciences, we now translate our original exhibits into the four most widely spoken languages in our community: Spanish, Chinese, Filipino, and English. Offering multilingual exhibits, programs, and digital content will become a trend around the world.
Telling Real Stories Will Be More Important Than Ever
Anna Slafer | Director of Exhibitions and Programs | International Spy Museum | Washington, D.C.
Museums still rank at the top of the public’s list of groups that are trusted custodians of unbiased truth. We can’t lose that. Over the next 10 years, I’ll be excited to see how museums better integrate real artifacts with new technologies to tell compelling, accurate stories that can really make history come alive! The challenge? Blurred lines—how we ensure the public understands the difference between fact and fiction. In a continuing age of information overload, “fake news,” virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR), how can museums create authentic experiences that both educate and engage? The answer: Create experiences that are immersive, active, and meaningful.
Multiculturalism Tastes Right
Tina A. Griffith | Director of Food Services | Traders Village | Grand Prairie, Texas, United States
Over the next decade, I anticipate we’ll see a vast increase in multicultural experiences and offerings beyond the standard burger and funnel cake.
Our younger generations are embracing multiculturalism more than ever. We will see food offerings (and marketing) becoming more closely aligned with the increasing diversity and cultural amalgamation of our population. This will allow more people to explore the authentic taste and feel of other cultures, whereas they may not have the opportunity to otherwise.
As for the burgers, the old standards will still be there—but maybe with a little flavorful kick!
Local Ties Become Standard
Shannon Rucker | Director of Procurement | Richard Pacilio | Executive Chef | Andretti Indoor Karting & Games | Marietta, Georgia, United States
The right team, proper training, purpose-driven products, fresh ingredients, and a legendary guest experience will elevate an attraction’s food and beverage program in the next decade. At Andretti, over the past five years, our culinary direction was driven by our guests, trends, and the economy. In the next decade, we’ll continue to research and listen, while focusing on our new food truck experience. Programs like this—that serve niche cuisine, offer healthy menu items with locally sourced produce, delivered on eco-conscious serving products—will become standard during the next decade. We’re also putting together programs that ensure our sites support the food insecure in our local communities. We believe that by cultivating an engaged food culture, we’ll connect with our guests on an even more meaningful level.
Change Is on the Menu
Tracy Bareno | Director Retail Operations | San Diego Zoo Safari Park | San Diego, California, United States
New ideas can take hold in the food and beverage (F&B) sector overnight. I predict in the next 10 years, three concepts will change F&B:
- Food as an experience will fascinate our guests. Having breakfast with tigers, dinner with a brewmaster, or dining with an incredible view will be a sought-after experience.
- Guests will become more educated in the value of consuming food that is organic, locally grown, humanely raised, made with sustainable palm oil, and eco-certified. Developing menus and purchasing food with conservation best practices in mind will become standard within 10 years.
- With record low unemployment expected to continue and significant increases in minimum wage, self-serve kiosks will supplement staff in quick-service restaurants.
Stay True to Your Brand
Jessica Bradley | Merchandise Area Manager | Cedar Point | Sandusky,
Ohio, United States
As Cedar Point prepares to celebrate our 150th anniversary, we’ve learned we’re most successful when we stay true to our brand. We are known for big fun and big thrills—and our souvenirs reflect the best memories of Cedar Point.
In 2016, we introduced the Vintage program in our retail shops. The initial launch included T-shirts, patches, and keychains of vintage midway games like “Fascination,” “Down-A-Clown,” and “Skee-Ball.” We also included retired rides, like “Jumbo Jet,” “Rotor,” and “Schwabinchen.”
The Vintage line extends the fun across all generations, linking the park’s past with the present.
As we celebrate 150 years, the new memorabilia we have planned will remind friends and guests of the timeless thrills and excitement they experienced here at Cedar Point.
TALENT DEVELOPMENT AND HUMAN RESOURCES
Tech Can’t Replace Team
Adrea Gibbs | CEO and Artistic Director | Alriginal Productions | Au Sable Forks, New York, United States
As backward as it may seem, I believe innovative attractions will see technology take a back seat to human interaction. Our industry will realize the power and impact by the roles played by team members—provided in concert with advanced technology. This will become both a differentiator and enticement to consumers, who can buy (or rent) virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and 3D, 4D, and 5D experiences for home use. These domesticated experiences will lack access to the human component, best provided by front-line staff. While technology will make great strides in entertainment, the value of face-to-face contact will become an even greater asset.
“Determined Fools Will Lead Us”
Bob Rogers | Founder and Chief Creative Officer / IAAPA Hall of Fame member | BRC Imagination Arts | Burbank, California, United States
2015 Vision from the late Marty Sklar: Young creative-types with passion will populate the industry.
2020 and Beyond from Sklar’s friend Bob Rogers: The future will always belong to dreamers.
The future has always belonged to those who refuse to face the facts—those determined fools and dreamers with no quitting sense. We love those people. They can be very young, very old, or in between. These are the can-do spirits who don’t know what can’t be done, so they do it anyway. They see new possibilities because they have the helpful ability to intermittently forget what is “always true,” while dreaming what could be. They combine new and old tools, with new and old ideas, all with fresh creative thinking and a healthy combination of the practical and the supposedly impractical. And this applies not just to technologists and creative leaders but also to project managers, operators, owners, and economists, who have the vision and courage to reimagine and reinvent their established foundational assumptions. “No—because” leads to yesterday. “Yes—if” leads to the future.
Employee Shortages Will Continue
Gregg Borman | Senior Vice President of Operations | Apex Parks Group | Irvine, California, United States
2015 Vision: Mixing attraction segments will create “mega-centers.”
2020 and Beyond: Finding staff will be a challenge.
Five years later, my predictions for incorporating previously segmented attractions together are in line with current trends. Traditional family entertainment center (FEC) operators continue to add attractions to their centers that are typically found in larger amusement parks.
I predict in the next decade we will be impacted by the declining size of the workforce. The U.S. Department of Labor states the labor force participation rate of the late 2020s is projected to be about 59%—a rate not seen since the 1950s and 1960s—before women entered the labor force in increasing numbers. I believe minimum wage will not be the issue; rather, finding and keeping team members will continue to be the industry’s biggest issue.
Grow and Invest in People
Bryan Thomas | General Manager | Malibu Grand Prix Norcross | Norcross, Georgia, United States
The most important step to being successful in the next 10 years: finding and developing a great team—one that is made up of optimistic people who possess the fundamentals of teamwork, a high level of integrity, and effective communication skills. When you have a team that genuinely smiles, enjoys making children happy, and embraces the idea of family togetherness, it sets us apart from other businesses.
Believe in Your People
Mona Ostrowski | Vice President of U.S. Operations | HB Leisure | Coney Island, New York, United States
As much as we should strive to meet our guests’ expectations, we should work harder in the years ahead to meet our staff’s expectations. We must treat them not as seasonal workers, but as long-term workers that contribute to the success of our operations! I love Richard Branson’s quote: “Train people well enough so they can leave; treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
TECHNOLOGY AND THE GUEST EXPERIENCE
Immersive Experiences Stir Emotion
Sergio Feder | CEO | PortAventura World | Tarragona, Spain
2015 Vision: Rides will customize the user experience.
2020 and Beyond: Strong digital components will create emotions.
The trend of designing attractions that offer immersive experiences—with a strong digital component—looks to continue. These immersive experiences are achieved by creating highly interactive attractions in which the family feels involved through the implementation of digital technology, effective storytelling, and the use of sensory effects that stir emotions.
Experiences Over Things
Cynthia Sharpe | Principal, Cultural Attractions and Research | Thinkwell Group | Los Angeles, California, United States
2015 Vision: Boutique experiences, like escape rooms, will grow.
2020 and Beyond: A desire for experiences over things.
Boutique experiences have certainly been a thing in the past five years. Pop-ups, haunts, small immersive theater performances, itty-bitty themed cocktail bars—this desire for meaningful experiences over things will continue to shape even larger attractions.
Future of Tech and Safety
Anna Danau | Managing Director | Hospitality Intelligence | Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
I don’t think technology means robots are running rides in the future. The attractions industry will continue to be people-driven, with technology giving us greater tools in the years ahead. Using sensor technology will further enhance and secure rides. Ensuring these rides receive proper maintenance will be aided by digital checklists. Soon these tools will become more compact, less obtrusive, and be the standard, accessible to all attractions.
Awaiting the Next Social Media Craze
Gabriela Cortés | Optimization Manager | Six Flags Mexico and Hurricane Harbor Oaxtepec | Mexico City, Mexico
I can’t wait to see the evolution of digital applications that will help us better serve our customers, maybe a new version of social networks for more interaction, and new forms of cashless payments.
Four Attributes of the Next Decade
Tom Mehrmann | President and General Manager | Universal Studios Beijing Park and Resort | Beijing, China
2015 Vision: Parks become more culturally enriching, with greater lengths of stay.
2020 and Beyond: Technology and analytics will drive decision-making.
Extending the length of stay at attractions is the objective of all members of our association. One way this was accomplished during the past five years was to place more focus on food and beverage service, along with adding additional core values and educational activities to become an integral part of the greater community.
In the next decade, successful attractions will focus on:
- Guest Experience. Attractions must be prepared to embrace technology and employ it to enhance the guest experience. As parkgoers demand immersive experiences, attractions must be careful: Technology should enhance these experiences, but not be the experience.
- Analytics. By 2030, attractions will employ broader analytics to measure business performance, guest experience, employee performance, pricing decisions, new market penetration, and enhanced loyalty. Analytics will drive better decision-making and planning. If you can measure it, then you can manage it.
- Cultural Relevance. Notwithstanding technology and analytics, nothing will ever replace being culturally relevant to the markets you serve. Attractions that are culturally relevant will outperform their peers.
- Values. Core company values, and a realization of what an attraction means for a community, will be key. Building economic stability and supporting the local community will play a greater role in why attractions exist and whether they succeed.
A Focus on the Ride Experience and Family Attractions
Alan Mahony | Vice President, Marine and Water Park | Atlantis Sanya Resort | Sanya, China
Over the next 10 years, I expect to see plenty of new developments from the leading slide manufacturers. My hope is these advancements create two trends: No. 1, that we concentrate on the ride experience, not just the marketing and look of a ride. No. 2, that family and kids’ attractions receive attention, in addition to the big-ticket items.
Making an Impression Early
Ann-Kathrin Mack | Certified Architect | Europa-Park | Rust, Germany
Of course there will be lots of new technology and ride systems in the next decade. But, from our point of view, we really believe that water parks and water park attractions will become more story-based, with guests becoming involved in the story before they arrive in the park.
Our new Indoor Water World Rulantica is supported by a book detailing the backstory, a musical in Europa-Park, and an exploration website that lets visitors explore the themed areas of the Water World and the stories of Rulantica.
Therefore, a good percentage of our guests will already come with some level of understanding about their adventure at Rulantica and what it will involve. From the second you enter the lobby and thru the changing room areas, we are visually involving you in the world of Rulantica.
Water, Water Everywhere
Vic Nolting | Senior Associate | International Theme Park Services Inc. | Columbia, South Carolina, United States
2015 Vision: Wet attractions join dry attractions.
2020 and Beyond: Water play expands beyond parks.
Over the past five years, the “wet side” of the global attractions industry continued to grow. New parks continued to be developed, while existing parks added exciting, next-generation products.
In the next 10 years, nonpark attractions like cruise lines will continue installing water slides and other wet elements on their new ships, while adding them to older vessels during renovations. Spray grounds and water slides will become a requirement for family RV parks and campgrounds, with early adaptors looking to add new slides and attractions.
Growth Ahead for Water Parks
Jai Malpani | Business Head, Malpani Group | Wet N Joy Water Park Maharashtra, India
Amusement parks and water parks are currently at a very nascent stage in India, but there is tremendous opportunity, thanks to the country’s fast-growing economy and young population. Disposable income is on the rise, and people want to spend that extra income on entertainment.
Fast forward to 2030: The price ceiling for tickets will not be much higher than today. With the right set of operators, the sector is set to boom, and good days are ahead of us.
Valeria Canon | Manager | Aquopolis Water Park | Buenos Aires, Argentina
I think within 10 years, water parks will incorporate additional technology and become more sustainable. First, technology will give us the opportunity to modify and revamp attractions by adding technological experiences, like augmented reality, that surprise visitors. Additionally, I think slides are going to be more sustainable in terms of energy use, water consumption, and the materials with which they are built.
ZOOS AND AQUARIUMS
Growing Connections for Generations
Jennifer Berthiaume | Vice President | Lion Country Safari | West Palm Beach, Florida, United States
As we continue to live in an increasingly technology-saturated environment, we believe guests will look deeper for unique experiences where they can grow connections. Discovering a giraffe’s affinity for painting, watching a rhino’s birthday celebration, having an ostrich approach your car window, and learning a chimpanzee’s favorite color build connections through memorable experiences. These moments are where seeds of conservation are planted, and the desire to save animals begins to grow.
Being the Trusted Voice
Natalia Hurley | Senior Manager of Guest Experience Operations | Monterey Bay Aquarium | Monterey, California, United States
Aquariums have the opportunity to leverage their position of being a trusted voice and resource for conservation and sustainability by shifting programming, creating experiential exhibits to involve guests, and employing a diverse workforce so guests can see themselves as a part of the solution. By establishing a strong social media presence prior to a visit, we can create emotional connections with our guests before they ever set foot inside. After experiencing the wonders of the ocean firsthand at our aquariums, we have the opportunity to create ocean stewards from all corners of the world for a lifetime.
Animal Ambassadors Touch Visitors’ Hearts
Michael Boos | Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Conservation | Ocean Park Hong Kong | Hong Kong, China
Zoos and aquariums will remain a much-needed link between nature and a world that is becoming more urbanized by the day. During the next 10 years, animal and marine attractions will play an increasingly important role facilitating dialogue about human pressure on the environment. Resources are dwindling, and animals are bombarded by increasing threats.
Nothing will replace the impact of actually seeing and connecting with an animal. While technology will enhance visitor experience in the next 10 years, tech must not distract from the live animal experience and conservation messaging.
More Aquariums Ahead
VGP Ravidas | Managing Director | Universal Kingdom | Tamil Nadu, India
Over the next two years alone, the Indian amusement industry is expected to grow by more than 30% a year. The country’s first aquarium (opened in 2019) is sure to pave the way for more aquariums in the next decade.
Gregg Hudson | President and CEO | Dallas Zoo and Children’s Zoo | Dallas, Texas, United States
2015 Vision: Zoos will develop a stronger connection to the wild.
2020 and Beyond: We have made tremendous strides since 2015.
Zoos and aquariums will continue their focus on saving animals in the wild. To date, our experts have saved many species from the brink of extinction, like the California condor, and new programs are aiding species like the whooping crane. At the heart of these efforts is SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction. Collaborative partnerships like these harness expertise within our institutions and will leverage their massive audiences to help save critical species in the future. (Currently, 25 species are under the program’s umbrella.) SAFE will empower AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) institutions save wildlife for future generations.